Ashcroft In America

Divided America is set to be embroiled in even more acrimony

By Lord Ashcroft

This article was first published in the Mail on Sunday.

The genius of the American political system is that the parties spend a year seeking the most accomplished, energetic, thoughtful, trustworthy, competent and generally impressive individuals they can find, before pitting them against each other ahead of an election for the highest office in the land.

At least, that is the theory.

So how is it that, as things stand, the US is heading for a rematch between a stumbling, rambling octogenarian and a man facing 91 criminal charges?

Believe it or not, the campaign for the presidential election in November next year is not really about Donald Trump or Joe Biden, or anyone else – apart from the voters.


Biden v. Trump: Why is America heading for the rematch no-one seems to want?

By Lord Ashcroft

This is an edited version of my presentation this week at the E2 Summit in Utah.

With just over a year to the next presidential election, Donald Trump has a commanding lead in Republican primary polls and Joe Biden insists he’s not going anywhere. How is it that, as things stand, the country is heading for a contest that hardly anyone seems to want? My latest research – a 20,000-sample poll together with focus groups in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Arizona – points us to the answer (more…)

Mapping the Future: The American Political Landscape and the Road to 2024

By Lord Ashcroft

As the new Congress convenes, I have brought together into a single report the research I conducted during the campaign for the November 2022 elections. Its implications go well beyond a single set of midterms. The model that we use, and the findings reported here – based on a poll of 20,000 Americans and extensive focus groups in the key states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida and Arizona – help us understand the landscape of opinion in the United States, the divisions that continue to define American politics, and the forces that will be at work in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election and beyond.

The research also helps explain why the red wave scheduled for November never materialised, despite economic pain and voters’ clear view that the country was heading in the wrong direction, with the Biden administration’s policies making things worse rather than better. Our analysis shows that we saw, in effect, one midterm but two elections, with different parts of the electorate voting according to completely separate sets of perspectives and priorities. Meanwhile, as the exit polls confirmed, nearly as many voters treated the election as a referendum on the former president as on the incumbent – hence the result that seemed to defy political gravity.

The temptation for the Democrats will be to take the result as an endorsement (more…)

Time to turn the page on Trump? My presentation on the US midterms to the International Democrat Union

By Lord Ashcroft

This is the text of my presentation today to the IDU Forum in Washington DC

We all know that the story of the US midterm elections was supposed to be a red wave, but we saw the Republicans take a slim majority in the House and go backwards in the Senate. My research, conducted in the weeks leading up to those elections, helps to explain what’s going on and what the implications are for the presidential election in 2024. The analysis is based on a poll of 20,000 Americans, together with focus groups in the crucial states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Florida.

We have used a model that helps us understand the landscape of opinion and the dynamics that drive American politics (more…)

A month out from the midterms, my new US research on Biden, Trump and the outlook for 2024

By Lord Ashcroft

This is the text of my talk at the E2 Summit in Utah, hosted by Senator Mitt Romney and Speaker Paul Ryan


I always feel something of an imposter when speaking to an American audience about their own politics. Rather than sharing that view, I hope you will feel I can bring the objective detachment of the outsider – not least because my analysis is based on a poll of 20,000 Americans, together with focus groups of voters from all walks of life in four crucial states: Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Florida.

Since last we met the political agenda has moved on, but the forces underlying the divisions that have long driven American politics remain. At our last gathering I introduced a model designed to help understand these forces. Here I will use the same tool to look at the landscape of opinion that underlies the midterm election and the approach to 2024 (more…)

Reunited Nation? American politics beyond the 2020 election

By Lord Ashcroft

Joe Biden’s inauguration today will be greeted with a huge sigh of relief by millions in America and around the world. The moment crowns the victory not just of Biden, but of the institutions of American democracy that many still fear are under threat. After a fortnight of extraordinary drama that saw the storming of the Capitol building and a second impeachment for an outgoing President, it would be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture – the movements that brought American politics to where it is, and their effect in the election that feels as though it took place not just eleven short weeks ago but in another age.

If the 2016 election that sent Trump to the White House will stand as one of the defining political events of our time, its successor last year was in many ways at least as remarkable: the supposedly unpopular President winning more votes than any previous Republican, losing only to the candidate with the most votes ever. This week I am publishing my analysis, based on four years of research throughout the US as well extensive polling and focus groups during the 2020 campaign. The research both helps to explain what happened and why, and gives some clues about what we can expect in the next chapter of American politics. Here are some of the key points (more…)

Trump is gone but Trumpism lives on: Hopes of a new age of unity under Joe Biden are surely forlorn

By Lord Ashcroft

This article was first published in the Mail on Sunday.

When Joe Biden takes the oath of office this week he will go down in history: having won more votes than any previous candidate, he will become the oldest person ever to become the country’s Commander in Chief. He will also be perhaps the first President to fulfil his mandate on the day of his inauguration.

For millions of Americans, Biden had one job – to remove Donald Trump from the White House – and he will complete this mission by lunch time on Wednesday. Much of the country will sigh with relief as the twice-impeached Trump leaves Washington to await the Senate’s verdict on charges of high crimes and misdemeanours, and its decision on whether he will be allowed to run for office again.

President Biden’s problems will begin with whatever he decides to do for an encore (more…)

“Trump lies a lot and Biden’s kind of not all there” “The silver lining is that if Trump loses, he can run again!”: My final election focus groups in Pennsylvania and Arizona

By Lord Ashcroft

 The final week of our virtual pre-election focus group tour of America’s swing states takes us to Pennsylvania, which swung narrowly to Trump four years having backed Democrats for president in every election since 1988, and Arizona, which has voted for the Republican in all but one election since 1948 but now high on Joe Biden’s list of targets.

With only days to go, we found some 2016 Trump supporters torn over how to cast their vote: “I was a little concerned that Biden’s not sure what he’s going to do with fossil fuel. And I’m concerned on Trump’s side with the healthcare system, but I like the economics, but maybe Biden has a better plan for disability people like me. So right now I’m stuck;” “Trump has no response plan for the virus, nothing’s going on. But I don’t think Biden really has a plan for this either;” “In 2016 I was willing to give him a chance because of what he could do for the economy and the fact that this was something different, he wasn’t just another politician. It’s not so easy now;” “Trump lies a lot and Biden’s kind of not all there (more…)

“He’s like a great surgeon with a terrible bedside manner” “It’s starting to feel like China” “If you’re voting for Trump, you keep your mouth shut”: My US election focus groups in Georgia and Ohio

By Lord Ashcroft

This week our virtual tour of America takes us to Georgia, widely seen as a toss-up this year despite having voted for the Republican in every presidential election since 1992, and Ohio, the quintessential swing state which has backed the losing candidate only once since 1944.

As if often the case with political news, the Hunter Biden email scandal – the claim that Joe Biden’s son was involved in corruption involving a Ukrainian energy company – seemed to have gained a great deal of attention without moving any votes (more…)

“He’s so toxic he’s worn out his welcome” “He’s the first president I paid attention to because he’s awesome” “There’s a lot of effing stupid people in our country”: My latest US election focus groups

By Lord Ashcroft

This week our virtual focus-group tour of America takes us to two more swing states, one in the rustbelt and one in the sunbelt: Michigan, which voted for the Democrat in every presidential election for 20 years before narrowly backing Donald Trump in 2016, and North Carolina, recently a more Republican-leaning state where polls now give Joe Biden a slim lead.

The week has been dominated by the Senate hearings for Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s nomination the vacant seat on the Supreme Court following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. The issue is the source of fruitless allegations of hypocrisy on all sides: the Democrats furious that the process is happening at all given the Senate’s refusal to confirm an Obama nominee in the months before the 2016 election, and the Republicans pointing out that the nominee in question would certainly have been confirmed if the Democrats had had the votes in the Senate (more…)